The Queen of New Beginnings by Erica James

Synopsis:

Clayton Miller’s promising media career and personal life are in tatters. To put it all behind him he retreats to a secluded country house. There he meets Alice, who goes to great lengths to avoid telling the truth about herself. When Alice and Clayton discover the truth about each other they form an unlikely friendship…

I love Erica James’ novels ♥ I have read them all, except one, which I have waiting to be read, and like the others, I was not let down by The Queen of New Beginnings. The story follows two characters: Alice and Clayton. The former is private and wants to keep her past hidden. She is a voice-over artist and makes her living reading stories for audiobooks or recording adverts. She has changed her name and lives in a quite, secluded village. Clayton, on the other hand, has had his life ruined in the media. He is a screen writer who has come to the same village to hide out. His girlfriend and best friend have shacked up and are blaming him for the loss of their unborn baby. It is all over the press and Clayton has been shamed. He meets Alice and eventually gets the truth of her past out; only to use it for his salvation…

This is a great story. Alice is a very likeable character – and she made me laugh at the beginning of the novel when she took the persona of  a woman called Katya, who was intimidating, even to Clayton. She has a sad story – a girl who lost her mother, then fell for her step-brother who used her and then broke her heart. She had lost contact with her father over the years and had been living a new life, albeit a fairly lonely one. I enjoyed reading her story and seeing her open up.

I liked Clayton too. He is in hiding, but as we learn more about him, I just felt so sorry for him. Barry, his ex-best friend and his old writing partner really betrayed him, and I felt more angry at him than Clayton’s ex-girlfriend. Clayton does make a monumental mistake – but I understood why he did it, and it had good consequences, which made good reading.

They are not the only two characters who make this book though. James writes some wonderful people, and my overall favourite was easily George, the mad old lady. When we first meet her she is pointing a gun at Clayton, and from there her eccentric ways continue. She even knew Alice as a girl, which was a lovely link to the past. She was wise, very good at reading people, and just a great personality.

There is a lot in this story, with a whole range of characters and events. James keeps you interested the whole way through and it did not take long to read this book. I really enjoyed it. It was realistic, and I found myself getting involved. James has done it again – written a cracking book! This is more mature chick-lit, and I loved it! James writes wonderful locations too, all of which I can still picture, even though I read the book a month ago! I remember the story clearly, and there are some shocks in the story line. The end was fairly predictable, but there were moments when I could have cried, and times when I laughed. And I liked how Clayton and Alice worked as a team and how everything worked out. Top marks from me!

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